Pegues looking forward to home advantage at FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers
KAMPALA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers) - Uganda center Adarius Pegues is excited about the potential prospect of playing in front of a home crowd during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers.
Having experienced a special connection with the Ugandan fans when playing with the City Oilers at the FIBA Africa Zone 5 Qualifiers last month, the 29-year-old is hungry for more of that.
In an exclusive interview with FIBA.basketball, the sleek center said: "I am definitely looking forward to playing in front of the home fans once again. The fans are wonderful."
"It was the first time that they got to see us. I can only imagine what the second time will be like, the anticipation will even be greater. A packed crowd, a lot more intense, an intense response from the crowd. I suck in the energy from the crowd and that is good vibration. It turns in our favour."
"Playing in front of the home crowd again will be a dream, not just to play for the fans but to win for them so we want to give them more pride so that the Government can respect us and look into more of the basketball programs so that they can invest and we do more investment in Uganda."
"I THINK THE UGANDA SILVERBACKS HAVE AN AWESOME CHANCE TO MAKE IT TO THE SECOND ROUND (OF THE AFRICAN QUALIFIERS) AND TO THE ACTUAL WORLD CUP IN 2019."
Uganda is in Group B with the 2015 African champions Nigeria, African basketball powerhouse Mali as well as archrivals Rwanda with all the four sides looking to make it to the second round of the qualifiers which is reserved for only the top three in each group.
The second round which will commence next summer will see the three teams play on a home and away basis and Pegues wants to be apart of that.
The Silverbacks, who made only their second appearance at the FIBA AfroBasket this September, have never played at the FIBA Basketball World Cup but Pegues believes that Ugandan basketball is on the rise.
"Playing at the AfroBasket was a once in a lifetime experience. Getting to play at the high level, representing a national team, I had a beautiful time playing with these guys because they are very intelligent, hardworking and a determined group of guys."
"Especially the leap that we made since 2015, we can see the clear improvement and the progress we shall make if we continue at the same rate and following that up with coming home to Kampala playing in front of the fans might be one of the greatest atmospheres that I have ever played in my life."
"I could not trade that in terms of experience. That is easily among the top three experiences of my life playing in Lugogo in front of the fans and winning that gold medal with the City Oilers.”
"I think the Uganda Silverbacks have an awesome chance to make it to the second round (of the African Qualifiers) and to the actual World Cup in 2019. We've got about seven guys on the national team playing for the City Oilers and we have this big group with the African champions coming up."
"We might have lost all our three games at the FIBA AfroBasket but that was still a great performance. Winning gold with the City Oilers and going into this tournament to lead up to the World Cup Qualifiers, we have already beaten Rwanda, they already have their national team at Patriots but I am not sure about Mali but Nigeria is a tough team but this is a time for us to go back home and come February we shall be on top of our game."